Expert opinions

Business coaching market in Russia: 2018

Igor Chekotin Business coach, business consultant, coach, rector of the Higher Institute of Entrepreneurship

Business education has become an integral part of life of literally every Russian family, in one way or another. Most mommies on maternity leave learn to make money online; then they go further and make money teaching others how to do it. Young people have fun on the internet; many of them actually learn or teach others how to promote their name, their hobby or business on social networks. All sorts of teachers of yoga, bed of nails, fire and shattered glass walking, and qigong masters coach others on calming the mind and attaining prosperity. Trainers of various extreme practices help their students open up internal resources for a breakthrough in business, breaking through their financial ceiling, etc. etc. I would say these practices can also be viewed as forms of business training. Esoteric practices for the fulfillment of desires, attraction of money, and opening channels of wealth and prosperity also serve business development and money-making.

Multilevel marketing (MLM) businesses offer training for employees. Companies have cut their corporate training expenses after the 2008 meltdown, giving rise to the market of open business coaching and personal growth training.

And naturally enough, the ubiquitous internet is blurring the boundaries of access to learning.

Leading world universities are introducing online courses in additional or higher professional education, even MBA programs. In 2017-2018, there was a lot of hype around the HYIP – the High Yield Investment Program – a fraudulent project for financial companies similar to a high-return investment fund, a type of financial pyramid, an investment scam, which promises a high return on investment but actually repays previous participants with money from new customers. Cryptocurrency education also attracted a huge number of entrepreneurs as well as those who have nothing to do with business. Crowds became excited by the possibility of fast gains.

It is difficult to evaluate the scope of the entire business coaching market. Market researchers vary in their estimates, from $20 mio or $25 mio per year to $1 bio per year. I think the current market size is actually bigger than that. Because the cryptocurrency market size is essentially not subject to evaluation. Still, I would like to talk more about the business coaching itself.

I am a business practitioner. I teach what brought me high results over a short period of time. I had to become a business coach as a CEO of a holding. I had to teach directors of forty companies the basics of business development and operation. Some never even heard the word ‘marketing’ before. So not only did I have to teach but also lead them through to an anticipated result. Then we had to teach directors of other holdings in our group of companies and lead them through to an efficient result. Thus I also became a business consultant. The outcome is our holding is in the Top 200 of Russian retailers.

So, what is happening to the Russian business coaching market today? Motivational coaches have taken over the biggest niche. People go to coaching sessions for a magical word, a big secret and the inspiring energy. People feel this drive but then it disappears without bringing them desired results. Unlike training sessions with specific algorithms and studying business projects here and now. When a training session participant already launched or worked out clear steps to take his business or career to a new level. It requires clear understanding and ability to focus on a specific, clear and precise goal with its own criteria, resources and time, and achievement of this goal is measurable. This is where we get back to the SMART objectives.

Let me remind you the definition of the goal according to SMART. It means addressing your needs. When there is a need there is a motive, and motivation means nothing without the need. Those who need extrinsic motivation have a weakened mind and their psychological potential is low. They are susceptible to external influence, so they need a business coach, someone who will motivate and inspire them. For them, there is no need in some productive work, it is important to communicate with their kind in a euphoric environment. 

“I practice what I preach,” one Canadian motivational coach told me once. 

I am not comparing the approaches now. Each business ‘preacher’ has their own flock. I see more market consumers are using motivation doping in their lives: it is more pleasant than to focus on the result. When they can’t afford business courses they work as volunteers and assistants to coaches, or try to earn money while inviting others, all in order to receive another dose of motivation. This trend is formed by those who promote and sell these ideas to people. 

I would recommend that business people always keep in mind what price they will pay for a tool and how much they will earn using this tool. They should have a strong and clear mind, a high energy potential and should be able to control themselves and thus to control their businesses. It is always good to learn. One should never stop learning from those who practice their business. 

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